I awoke and felt warm. I’d been dreaming of an ice bath, an underground maze of ice baths to be precise. I was taking part in a communal mediation/chanting and upon completion everyone dived into the ice water… but I wasn’t sure where it lead to. People weren’t swimming back. I held back.

I quickly realised I’d woken in time to catch the sun worshipping singing group, threw a jacket on and headed down to the bay. What a perfect way to greet the day, and we are being treated to luxury here – it’s 18 degrees – in late November. The sky was painted a thick dark grey, the rising sun nowhere to be seen – but with a “Ohayou gozaimasu! ?????????!” our leader started up his battery powered synth anyway, and we were off!

“Aaaahhhh” – the Insen scale meeting the waves that are beating the seawall of the bay. 

6 of us to start with today: two females and four males, and by the time we’d concluded the practice another two had joined us. I observe today that females and males stand apart, sticking to their groups. Whilst there is a strong core, the members of this sun worshipping band are inter-changeable. But they do remember me, and they ask after my well being. We talk about the weather… they had invited me to a flower festival last week and they show me some lovely on the photos. I explain I couldn’t be there as I was supporting Taiga with his football schedule. When we chat, some bits get lost in translation, but the love stays with me. I smile and want them to know how much it means to me, that they’ve welcome me into their little group here down at the bay, on the edge of the land, singing into the deep nothingness of the water.

Afterwards, I’m headed back to the apartment and face down in my phone, I hear the gentle alert tones of the zebra crossing and step out into the road and sense someone behind me. One of the singers has caught up with me and wants to chat. This is welcome! “Which is your apartment block” he asks, before introducing himself as Tano. At least I think that’s what he said. I hope i’ve remembered it correctly. If I could have one super power it would be that I remember everyone’s name, instantly and forever. ?????? Hajimemashite Tano.

Today is my favourite kind of breakfast with Taiga as it’s the morning after a Wolves match. When it’s an evening match the final whistle has only just been blown, and we’re just tucking into porridge, giving us plenty to digest. We begin with score predictions (before checking my phone for the result) line ups, times of the goals and names of who played. We are really disappointed to discover Wolves lost 3-2 to Fulham and not only that, but it was a penalty (PK they call them here) in the 94th minute! I search for the highlights but it’s too soon – they’re not up yet and that will have to wait until after school.

The fact that Jimenez didn’t score against us offers some light relief but….that just would’ve been weird.

Dan x